New To Baking By Scratch.........

Baking By dvergara Updated 24 Jun 2010 , 8:33pm by Larkin121

dvergara Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 4:03am
post #1 of 29

I seems every white cake i have made comes out dense, is there any fluffy white cake recipes. Iguess i got used to ox mixes. Any help would be appreceiated icon_sad.gif

28 replies
KrissieCakes Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 4:27am
post #2 of 29

I haven't found a scratch white cake that I like better than the doctored box mix (WASC). I'd love to see the responses to this too. So far I have tried scratch cakes from Confetti Cakes, Whimsical Bakehouse, and Peggy Porschen. All have seemed pretty dry to me, but maybe that's because I'm used to box mixes too!

Gefion Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 7:26am
post #3 of 29

Dense and dry cakes are often a result of mixing too little and baking too long. Box mixes are much more forgiving and has far more leavener and chemicals to compensate.

Scratch baking is a skill that must be aquired - I would suggest finding a good book that explains the techniques in detail (I wrote one last year, but unfortunately not in English).

A few important pointers: Always cream butter for several minutes. Likewise eggs, which must be added one at a time. All ingredients should be room temp. Do not beat batter after flour has been added - stir instead, as to not develop gluten. Be careful not to overbake.

KrissieCakes Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 1:50pm
post #4 of 29

Even though this isn't my post...thank you Gefion! I will have to play around with some recipes using your tips. By the way, your cakes are absolutely gorgeous. I would love to learn piping skills like that someday. Amazing!

JaeRodriguez Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 3:14pm
post #5 of 29

Gefion, I just looked at your website, I think your cakes are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen! I am in awe! :] I seriously think I sat here with my chin dropped to the floor the whole time I was looking at your gallery, and not only are your Lambeth style cakes amazing but the little car cakes too! WOW! :]

Sorry to interrupt the thread OP!

KrissieCakes Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 7:34pm
post #6 of 29

Wow! I had not looked at your website, until I saw the above post. Absolutely incredible! The small sampling you have added to CC is nothing in comparison to your website. You are truly talented Gefion!

Sorry to stray again from the OP, but maybe this will give it a bump again and get some more responses!

dvergara Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 11:03pm
post #7 of 29

ok so it a learned process then ok, but they also show that you have to alternate wet with dry, I made a chocolate cake that did not need to be done that way and it came out fluffly and moist, I just want a fluffy white cake i have the moist down.

LindaF144a Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 1:40am
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvergara

ok so it a learned process then ok, but they also show that you have to alternate wet with dry, I made a chocolate cake that did not need to be done that way and it came out fluffly and moist, I just want a fluffy white cake i have the moist down.




I have not attempted a white cake yet. And that is because what I have read about it here. I'm going to try one someday and probably soon.

I did want to add that a white cake is made with egg whites only. That alone makes it a difficult cake to get moist. Have you tried a simple syrup after you make it?

Also others on here have raved about Sylvia Weinstock's white cake recipe. If you google her name I believe her white cake recipe is on the internet somewhere.

HTH

dvergara Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 2:12pm
post #9 of 29

Ok mayne I worded it wrong, lets just say it is not dry as the ones I've baked before. I am assuming the only way to get a fluffy, moist white cake is if you doctor-up a box cake. Am I correct in saying that???

Larkin121 Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 3:18pm
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvergara

Ok mayne I worded it wrong, lets just say it is not dry as the ones I've baked before. I am assuming the only way to get a fluffy, moist white cake is if you doctor-up a box cake. Am I correct in saying that???




No... you can get a light fluffy white scratch cake. White cakes have a tendency to want to be a bit drier because they are all egg whites, which are drying to a cake. You can sub in a whole egg or two sometimes (reducing the other egg whites accordingly) for a moister texture. But light and fluffy has nothing to do with the fact that it is white. It has to do with the recipe and your techniques.

Three good books on baking science:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0618138927/?tag=cakecentral-20

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1584793414/?tag=cakecentral-20

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1416560785/?tag=cakecentral-20



In addition, look into various mixing methods. the reverse creaming method, for example, will give you a much more tender texture to your cake, closer to a box mix. The traditional creaming method will give you a higher, lighter cake.

It really starts with understanding why baking works the way it does, and then goes into finding a good recipe to use. It's trial and error, but it's fun!

dvergara Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 3:32pm
post #11 of 29

ok got I'll check into the website you put on here thank you so much everybody. You are right it is fun. On a side note the chocolate cake I did not have eggs (thats what the recipe called for) that cake was awesome light fluffy and moist.

JaeRodriguez Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 3:35pm
post #12 of 29

dvergara- I have made Sylvia's Classic Yellow Cake and it is amazing, I have heard that her chocolate cake is great too, so maybe Linda's advice about her white cake will help you!

dvergara Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 7:29pm
post #13 of 29

WOW I went to you rwebsite Gefion all I can say is I'm speechless. I have some lace work but you supassed then any other I have seen. You are a master and your proof in in your gallery.

sberryp Posted 22 Jun 2010 , 11:44pm
post #14 of 29

I have to say that I love the cakes from the book cake love. The butter cakes are amazing.

strathmore Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 2:12am
post #15 of 29

Larkin121 - what is reverse creaming ?? Is that creaming the eggs and sugar as opposed to butter and sugar ?? As I have a cake that I make with this process and its lovely moist and light.

Larkin121 Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 2:34am
post #16 of 29

Reverse creaming is putting the dry ingredients in the mixer first, adding the butter, mixing til it's like sand, then mixing your eggs and liquids in another bowl, pouring some in, mix 30 seconds or so, add more liquid, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. It fluffs up during that time. Your cake will not rise as high but it will have a really great texture.

LindaF144a Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 3:16am
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larkin121

Reverse creaming is putting the dry ingredients in the mixer first, adding the butter, mixing til it's like sand, then mixing your eggs and liquids in another bowl, pouring some in, mix 30 seconds or so, add more liquid, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. It fluffs up during that time. Your cake will not rise as high but it will have a really great texture.


Larkin121 -

Thank you for the info. I wondered what this method did for the cake. This is the method Rose uses in The Cake Bible. I made one recipe from there. You are right, the cupcakes did not rise, but the texture was beautiful. Unfortunately I wanted the cupcakes to rise.

I was going to try another batch thinking I did something wrong. Come to find out it is the process that makes it that way. I think I'll try making them by the traditional creaming method and see which I like best - a great texture or a domed cupcake.

strathmore Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 3:55am
post #18 of 29

Thanks for that - so I was way off then icon_lol.gif I can use this on any cake that has the usual creamed method ?? I have a problem with cakes that rise well, don't dome or crack but sink a lot when cooled - will this method help that ?? I won't end up with a pancake cake as it has not rises as much in the first place ?? icon_surprised.gif Sorry to the OP for hijacking the thread - this is a great resource to learn from every time you come into the site there is more !!

LindaF144a Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 12:23pm
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by strathmore

Thanks for that - so I was way off then icon_lol.gif I can use this on any cake that has the usual creamed method ?? I have a problem with cakes that rise well, don't dome or crack but sink a lot when cooled - will this method help that ?? I won't end up with a pancake cake as it has not rises as much in the first place ?? icon_surprised.gif Sorry to the OP for hijacking the thread - this is a great resource to learn from every time you come into the site there is more !!


I used to have this problem too. Come to find out that even though a toothpick was coming out clean, I was underbaking. I just let the last one sit for one minute longer after I tested the toothpick till the top springed back and then I took it out. I didn't get any sinking when it cooled. Now I'm going to go back to some recipes I dismissed and try again to see what the results are. It could be I have been underbaking all along.

Larkin121 Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 2:03pm
post #20 of 29

Sinking cakes can have several causes, but the reverse creaming won't "solve" them. It can be due to overmixing, too much leavening (a lot of recipes actually have too much leavening, underbaking, etc.

You can potentially take any well written recipe and change the mixing methods, yes, unless the method is vital for the finished result, such as a sponge cake.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 2:20pm
post #21 of 29

I have a pound cake recipe that I use that actually comes out a little more lighter than I would expect a pound cake to be. I am new to scratch baking as well, but I think it might have to do with the eggs used. The whole egg is used, but the yolks are separated from the whites. The whites are beat until stiff and folded into the batter at the end.

One of these days (maybe when grad season is over), I'm going to experiment by making one cake with the whole eggs added and another with the whites beaten and folded in. Should be fun.

artscallion Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 2:34pm
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

Quote:
Originally Posted by strathmore

Thanks for that - so I was way off then icon_lol.gif I can use this on any cake that has the usual creamed method ?? I have a problem with cakes that rise well, don't dome or crack but sink a lot when cooled - will this method help that ?? I won't end up with a pancake cake as it has not rises as much in the first place ?? icon_surprised.gif Sorry to the OP for hijacking the thread - this is a great resource to learn from every time you come into the site there is more !!

I used to have this problem too. Come to find out that even though a toothpick was coming out clean, I was underbaking. I just let the last one sit for one minute longer after I tested the toothpick till the top springed back and then I took it out. I didn't get any sinking when it cooled. Now I'm going to go back to some recipes I dismissed and try again to see what the results are. It could be I have been underbaking all along.




Yes, this is a problem , particularly in butter cakes. I find that, as the batter cooks, the fats in the butter separate and the batter has a greasiness to it before it sets into a baked structure. So when you insert a toothpick in at this point, the pick kind of slides into the batter and back out again. The greasiness prevents the batter from sticking to the pick, even though it's not done yet. A clue to this is if you pull out your toothpick, and it is clean, but looks a little shiny.

To solve this you can either leave it in another 3-5 minutes past this point, or you can use a flower nail. I use flower nails in all of my butter cakes, even the 6" ones.
mnailb

Gefion Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 3:37pm
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larkin121

Sinking cakes can have several causes, but the reverse creaming won't "solve" them. It can be due to overmixing, too much leavening (a lot of recipes actually have too much leavening, underbaking, etc.

You can potentially take any well written recipe and change the mixing methods, yes, unless the method is vital for the finished result, such as a sponge cake.




I completely agree with this! I see recipes everywhere with up to 3 tsp leavener, and I can't figure out why. I never use more than 1 tsp baking powder, unless we're talking really large cake - as in, 16" or so. Good mixing is key.

And thank you for all your kind comments! I did not see this thread until I suddenly had lots of incoming links from it, because I usually get boo'ed out when I talk scratchbaking icon_wink.gif

LindaF144a Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 5:05pm
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gefion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larkin121

Sinking cakes can have several causes, but the reverse creaming won't "solve" them. It can be due to overmixing, too much leavening (a lot of recipes actually have too much leavening, underbaking, etc.

You can potentially take any well written recipe and change the mixing methods, yes, unless the method is vital for the finished result, such as a sponge cake.



I completely agree with this! I see recipes everywhere with up to 3 tsp leavener, and I can't figure out why. I never use more than 1 tsp baking powder, unless we're talking really large cake - as in, 16" or so. Good mixing is key.

And thank you for all your kind comments! I did not see this thread until I suddenly had lots of incoming links from it, because I usually get boo'ed out when I talk scratchbaking icon_wink.gif


The reason why you see so much leavening in some cakes is because it is a tenderizer also. Butter is a tenderizer, but it will make a cake dense. Leaveners will tenderize and lighten the cake too.

I have read this in several places now, as well as my own experience. Trust me you do not want to tweak the leavening in a chocolate cake. Ask me how I know. icon_biggrin.gif Had cupcakes so dry you could not chew them. That batch went straight into the garbage. They weren't even worth passing of to DH coworkers. The only difference between that batch and the new batch I imediately made again was I tweaked the leavening to the proper amount for the flour. I don't mess with the leavening in cake recipes any more unless it is grossly over stated, or just plain wrong - as in the case of my MIL halfmoon cookie recipe. There was no baking soda and you need baking soda in a chocolate recipe (except for dutch process). If I detect a soapy, chemically taste I might tweak a bit, but I usually leave the leavening to get that nice tenderness.

It took a lot of research to find this out. Leavening to the proper flour amount may work for some things some of the time, but it doesn't work for all things all the time. And cake is definitely that exception.

Gefion Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 6:47pm
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

The reason why you see so much leavening in some cakes is because it is a tenderizer also. Butter is a tenderizer, but it will make a cake dense. Leaveners will tenderize and lighten the cake too.

I have read this in several places now, as well as my own experience. Trust me you do not want to tweak the leavening in a chocolate cake. Ask me how I know. icon_biggrin.gif Had cupcakes so dry you could not chew them. That batch went straight into the garbage. They weren't even worth passing of to DH coworkers. The only difference between that batch and the new batch I imediately made again was I tweaked the leavening to the proper amount for the flour. I don't mess with the leavening in cake recipes any more unless it is grossly over stated, or just plain wrong - as in the case of my MIL halfmoon cookie recipe. There was no baking soda and you need baking soda in a chocolate recipe (except for dutch process). If I detect a soapy, chemically taste I might tweak a bit, but I usually leave the leavening to get that nice tenderness.

It took a lot of research to find this out. Leavening to the proper flour amount may work for some things some of the time, but it doesn't work for all things all the time. And cake is definitely that exception.




I know some people think they need to use leavening agents as a tenderizer, but I never have problems with dry chocolate cake (or any cake for that matter), unless I screw up and bake it too long. Cocoa powder can really dry out a cake, which is why I usually use real chocolate in chocolate cakes, and only a small amount of cocoa powder. I also use more eggs that usually seen.

All our cocoa is dutch process, so I don't need to worry about chemical taste. Usually my biggest problem is that the cakes become TOO moist, and are difficult to work with.

I realize that European taste probably differs from American, so obviously you should do what works best for you.

LindaF144a Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 7:05pm
post #26 of 29

Sorry, I didn't notice that you weren't from the states. Our cocoa is different, as well as our flour too I believe. And there are some other little differences I can't remember right now.

It's good that adjusting the leavener works for you and your ingredients. As for the rest of over here, the leavener as a tenderizer is some good advice to remember and pass along to anybody else looking for this kind of information.

Larkin121 Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 7:19pm
post #27 of 29

Hmm, I've never heard of baking soda as a major tenderizer in baking. NOt saying you are wrong, just that I haven't read that in the books I've purchased. Sugar is a tenderizer, fats, egg yolks... but haven't seen baking soda as a major player. Typically, recipes that have too much leavening are when baking soda is involved. It is extremely powerful and I've seen it way overused in addition to baking powder.

However, when a recipe bakes up fine as is, there's no reason to mess with it. If cakes are sinking, though, then over leaving can be the issue and it's worth tweaking a bit back towards "standard" amounts. It would seem that if all your other major tenderizers are in order, the baking soda being diminished, if at the correct levels so as to avoid a sinking cake, should not create a tough cake.

LindaF144a Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 7:43pm
post #28 of 29

The Cake Bible page 36
How Baking Works, page 299
Professional Baking, page 85 (although he warns about putting too much and making it too light)
These are the books I happen to have sitting open on my desk right now. I never post a statement without several places to back it up.
Numerous website that I can't remember where they are right now.

It also is mentioned in Bakewise, but I don't have book in front of me to quote the page number.

And in The Cake Bible somewhere she says that over leavening is used to make a cake not rise and get that nice flat top that everybody covets. I can't find it right now.

Yep all those things are a tenderizer as well as leavener. I am just as surprised as anybody else. But after making some seriously dry cupcakes where all I did was adjust the leavening, I now am a convert to their tenderizing power, even when all the other tenderizers are present. And the recipe I tweaked had far more than I expected also, but it made all the difference in the world.

And yes, I am anal icon_biggrin.gif I research everything I do to death. icon_biggrin.gif

Larkin121 Posted 24 Jun 2010 , 8:33pm
post #29 of 29

Good to know! Of those, I only have Bakewise, but I haven't read it recently. I'm a fan of researching, too, love when others actually give informed answers!

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